"Good girl," Mike said to Jessie, who was still clinging to Paige at the kitchen table. "I have a folder here that has some pictures of people in it." Jessie looked down at the folder to see what he was talking about.
"Would you be able to show us who out of these people are the really bad guys?" he asked.
She seemed a bit confused and didn't respond to his question. "What if we made piles?" Paige suggested, lifting Jessie off of her lap and onto the bench.
"Good idea, P," Johnny said, "you can put the pictures of bad guys in one pile, people you don't know in one pile, and good guys in a pile. Does that sound ok?" Jessie nodded, still staring at the folder.
Paige still seemed a little skeptical, but knew that any information they could get would be helpful in trying to find the Tinkerbells and uncover the bus scam.
Paige put her hand gently under Jessie's chin and moved the girl's head slightly so that they were making eye contact with one another. "If you don't want to look at the folder anymore, we can just stop, ok?" Paige said to her.
Charlie had taken 3 pieces of paper and had written labels on each of them. One said "bad guys", one said "good guys" and the other one had a question mark on it.
Mike put the folder down in front of Jessie and the five agents waited patiently.
Jessie opened the folder and saw a mug shot of an older Russian man. She studied it for a few seconds, picked it up, and then put it on top of the paper with the question mark. "Have you ever seen him before?" Paige asked her. Jessie shook her head.
Without any hesitation, Jessie picked up the next photo and placed it in the "bad guy" pile. Mike wanted to ask her more, but figured he should wait so she wouldn't get upset.
Jessie put the next three pictures in the "bad guy" pile and then studied the following picture for a few minutes. She looked up at Paige and then back down at the picture. "Do you know that man, sweetheart?" she asked her.
Jessie nodded and then put the picture down on the table in between the "good" and "bad" guy piles.
"Did he just do a little bad stuff?" Johnny asked with a small laugh. Jessie shook her head. "A lot of bad stuff?" Johnny asked. The girl nodded and looked up to Paige, "But he's nice," she whispered.
"Oh," Paige said, "so he did bad things, but he was nice to you?" Jessie nodded really big. The girl got up higher on her knees and leaned in to the side of Paige's head. "He brought me ice cream sometimes," she whispered with a smile.
"He did?!" Paige said excitedly. "Wow, he knew to bring you ice cream to the house? That is very nice."
Johnny made a note on the back of that picture that this man was aware there was a minor being mistreated at that address.
Jessie went through another few photos, two of which she added to the question mark pile. The "good guy" pile was still empty.
When Jessie saw the next picture, the agents knew that something was very wrong.
Jessie's breathing changed and she scrunched her eyes tight. She sat back and brought her knees up to her chest so that she was sitting tucked. Her hands were in little fists on either side of her face.
Paige turned to Mike. "Find out who the hell that is," she said, handing him the picture. Paige stood up and took Jessie into her arms. The girl's legs were still tucked up into her chest as Paige carried her into the living room.
Paige sat on the couch sideways with her back up against the armrest and her feet out on the cushions in front of her. She laid Jessie on her chest and kept her arms wrapped tightly around the girl. "He's not going to get you," Paige said to her. "He can't hurt you; I've got you; You're safe." She repeated the phrases, but Jessie still wouldn't relax or open her eyes.
Paige did everything in her power to try and get the girl to calm down. Mike walked in and Paige scooted in up against the back of the couch. It was a tight fit, but Mike sat right next to her so that they were side-by-side. Trying to show her that Mike was there too, Paige moved Jessie over a little so that she was resting up against both of them.
"You did a really good job," Mike said to the girl in a calm voice. "We want to make sure that the bad guys don't hurt anyone else, ok?"
There was still no reaction so Mike went over and got the blanket from the other side of the couch and covered the girls again.
Paige stayed like that for about thirty minutes. She couldn't tell if Jessie had been in and out of sleep, but she knew that the kid just needed some time.
Mike, Johnny, Briggs and Charlie were sorting through the other files and Jakes had made his way downstairs. He was quickly caught up on what had happened.
Paige felt Jessie kick her leg a little, so she started to rub circles on the girl's back.
"Do you know what makes me feel better after I feel scared or sad?" Paige asked her.
She knew that she wouldn't get a response. "I take a bath," Paige whispered, "it always helps me feel better."
Jessie snuggled her head into Paige more. "Would you like to go take a bath?" Paige asked, "and then we can put on some of the new clothes that Charlie and Paul got you..."
Jessie didn't nod, but she did open her eyes to look up at Paige.
"C'mon," Paige said, standing up with her, "let's get you all clean."